Music & Art in Wright Park: this Saturday in Tacoma!

For anyone local who hasn’t seen my posts about this yet… I will be sharing a booth with Blessed Henna by Jada Moon at this year’s Music & Art in Wright Park Tacoma on August 8th! The event is free, so stop on by and say hi if you have a chance. Tell your friends to stop by and say hello, too! ❤ We’ll be there all day, from noon to 7:00 pm.

MAWP2

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Spring Fairy Festival

2015-05-30-SpringFairyFestival-1We went to Crescent Moon Gifts‘ Spring Fairy Festival on Saturday, and we had such a great time! I thought I’d share a quick run-down and some pics with you… Apologies for my phone’s camera not quite being on the ball yesterday! (Click on any of the smaller images if you’d like to see the full-sized version.)

AJ took this pic of me before we headed out, modeling the pieces that I made to wear for the 2015-05-30-SpringFairyFestival-2event. Get a closer look at the pieces at the right… The faerie necklace is a duplicate of a recent design, but with garnet instead of clear quartz. It’s also got pink lepidolite, rose quartz, Swarovski crystal pearls and a cute ceramic faerie pendant. The spiral necklace combines copper, green opal, African jade, tiger’s eye, tiny moss agate hearts, green glass crystals and raku-finished ceramic beads. Both of these pieces are now available for purchase, but have not been listed in my shop. Please get in touch if you’re interested in purchasing either piece.

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We got to Crescent Moon after Little Bear‘s set had started, but were glad that we didn’t miss her entirely. I’ve been a fan of Little Bear’s on Facebook for a while and already thought she was awesome, but listening to her sing was such a treat!

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Then we went out to check out the booths, and one of the first things we saw was this adorable tree… Which I had to take a picture of because it reminded me of the wishing trees at some of Brighid’s sacred sites in Ireland. (As was the intent, I’m sure.) Of course that made me smile.

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The next performance we caught was Chronilus, who were fun. The lovely ladies dancing while they played were also a treat; thanks to April and Bev for their performances! It was so sweet to watch the little faeries following them around!

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AJ and I both fell completely in love with The Fire Inside, who played next on the outdoor stage. This awesome lady kept encouraging the wee faeries to get up and dance along, which tickled us immensely, We really hope that these folks come back to Tacoma in the somewhat near future and we get to see them again.

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Flair Entertainment wrapped things up for the evening, and they had most of the remaining crowd pretty enthralled. I was really impressed by much of their routine, especially the parts of the performance where they were dancing together. So much talent and confidence! We look forward to seeing them do their thing again in the future, as well.

2015-05-30-SpringFairyFestival-9We picked up some small treasures from the folks vending at the festival…

The shiva lingam stone and selenite heart sang to me pretty much the moment that I saw them in Crystal Quarry‘s booth. We picked up mini prints of a few of Rob Carlos‘ pieces, including the gorgeous purple dragon shown at the top of the stack.

Then we fell in love with the gorgeous magnet that we purchased from Herb Leonhard Art, and I’m hoping to also pick up some of his art print pendants to work with in the future. The beautiful scarf in the center spot was something I went on the hunt for because I have issues with energy in crowds, and I’d forgotten to bring something to cover my head. Gratefulhaven Batiks saved the day! The small Quan Yin figure is something we’ve been wanting to add to our altar for a while, and I couldn’t resist the mini I Ching coins from Crescent Moon… I’ll show you what I do with them later.

In order to help ourselves get healthier, we’ve been making a strong effort to cut out most processed sugar and quite a bit of carbs from our diets. We’re already feeling better in a lot of ways, but we couldn’t resist the call of a few sweet treats yesterday. It had literally been years since we’d had a doughnut, so we had to pop into Legendary Doughnuts, where we grabbed a Sex in the City — chocolate doughnut frosted with chocolate and drizzled with salted caramel, which we split for dessert last night — and a blueberries and cream doughsant, which we haven’t savored just yet. Back at the festival, we also picked up a mini loaf of banana bread and a delicious snickerdoodle from Forest Fairy Bakery, which we indulged in once we arrived home since we’d been standing and walking so much all day — we’d definitely gotten some exercise! The banana bread went right into the freezer for safekeeping.2015-05-30-SpringFairyFestival-8

When we got home, AJ wanted to snap a pic of how happy I was, So here’s that — you can just barely see my first sunburn of 2015. Thankfully, even though my chest and shoulders are crimson today, they look much worse than they feel. I’ll have to remember to pick up some sunblock soon!

Because we both have chronic pain and fatigue, we’re still recovering today… But was it worth it? Well, I guess I’ll let my smile speak on my behalf. (In other words, we’re looking forward to next year’s festival!)

Thanks to the folks who took advantage of my special offer the night before the festival, we miraculously had a bit of spending money after being ridiculously broke for most of May. It was so nice to be out and about, and to sort of temporarily forget our recent extreme poverty and just be able to support some local small businesses in our travels through the festival, since all of our urgent needs were actually taken care of for once. Thanks to all of you who have supported my wee business in the past two weeks and helped us do a complete 180 from the beginning of May! We may be broke again today, but our fridge is full, I’ve got a roast bubbling away in my crockpot, and we have a few days before we have to start worrying about meds again.

All in all, we had such a lovely day yesterday! Thanks for reading and allowing me to share our adventure — and some wonderful local performers, artists and small businesses — with you!

Much love and many bright blessings,
♥ Bri

New video posted!

Finally, here it is, the new video of our space — with me in it!

Please be gentle; I’m pretty self-conscious about some things, but bit the bullet to be in the video because I love and appreciate you all so much, and I figured the least I could do was say thank you in person (or the closest thing to it).

Thank you all SO MUCH for all of your amazing support and help in making our little apartment home!

If you’re able, please consider contributing to our fundraising campaign. Click here to be taken to the campaign page, for more details about our journey. The fundraiser will conclude at the end of March, so we’ve got just six days left to raise another $680 and meet our goal, which would help with all kinds of stuff from a new work computer for AJ to more comfortable chairs and a platform to turn our mattress into a real bed — so that we don’t have to sleep on or get up from the floor with chronic pain.

Again, thank you all so much for your support — be it in the form of prayers, purchases, contributions, signal boosts, or all of the above. You mean the world to us! Thanks for being part of the family.

Much love and the brightest of blessings to each of you!
Bri (& AJ)

The Nickel Tour

Hey, friends! I finally got our first apartment video uploaded. I didn’t realize how blurry it would turn out on my phone, so I’ll be sure to use our camera next time. 🙂 Thank you all so much for your support!!

Please click here to view the video on Facebook.

[Interested in saving 33% on the jewelry in my shop? Check out my last post.]

One week left in Chattanooga…

In case anyone missed the announcement linked to in this post, this is why I’ve been even quieter this week than in the recent past. Hubby and I are doing all kinds of last-minute packing and shopping for necessities on Amazon, since we have Prime (fast free shipping is our best friend for anything we need quickly) — and we are starting out utterly unprepared for the weather in the Northwest. I’m hoping to be able to make and post a few more pieces before I have to pack up my beads, but I’m not yet certain whether I’ll have the time. I’ll keep you posted.

I did make a green glass and unakite version of my beaded Witchy Warrior headpiece and necklace last night; I’ll try to get those listed soon. The headpiece was still very time-intensive, but the materials weren’t quite as spendy without the garnet, so the pieces will be priced a smidge lower, for anyone who may have been in love with the design but flexible on the materials.

In the meantime, our final flamekeeping shift in Tennessee will begin this Friday evening. If you’d like to help support our fast-approaching cross-country move and help us cover all of these related expenses, we’d appreciate it so much if you’d consider purchasing a candle (or a piece of jewelry) from my shop. All jewelry purchased by Monday will ship on Wednesday, before we head to Atlanta. Candle services purchased by Friday evening will be dressed, blessed and lit on our altar before our shift ends Saturday night.

Use the coupon code “TACOMA” to take 25% off all regularly-priced jewelry in your order!

As always, thanks so much for being here, being you, and being such an awesomely supportive group of amazing people!

Ask Bri: Tacoma, holiday shopping, flamekeeping, using the word “queer” & more!

Heya, friends! I have so much work to do to get ready for our upcoming move, but I’ve been feeling too unwell to work on jewelry or do any physical work tonight, so I thought I’d answer some of the fantastic questions that have been asked of me recently. Thanks so much to everyone who took advantage of the extra entry option with my recent giveaways and asked some great, thoughtful questions! So, without further ado, let’s get to the 13 I’ve chosen to answer this time around.

How close are you guys to your move to Washington?

We’re almost there! We’ll be leaving Chattanooga on the 13th and flying into Seattle on the 15th. As mentioned here, we are incredibly excited… And we’ve got a lot of work to do in the next week or so! Click through to read the full Facebook post and snag a coupon good for 25% off all regularly-priced jewelry in my shop, now through the 15th.

Will you be able to have a garden when you move to Tacoma?

We’ll be renting rooms in other people’s homes for at least the first six weeks we’re there, and we have no idea yet what our longer-term home will be like. We’d love to end up renting a house, but apartments seem more plentiful in our budget, so we may not have much space. We also deal with a lot of fatigue and are pretty busy with my business (which I hope to be expanding in lots of exciting ways once we settle), our spiritual work, and just taking care of ourselves and one another, so we may not have the energy for something like this. We also have no idea whether we’d be any good at it, as we’ve both lived primarily in cities and haven’t had a lot of opportunity to find out whether we have green thumbs.

That said, we would absolutely love the opportunity to grow some herbs and maybe even food for ourselves, even if it’s just a window box or small container garden to start.

How can I view all of your work and order for the holidays? Also, what is your cutoff for custom orders for the holidays?

You can check my older posts here on the blog or poke around in my albums on Facebook to see my past work. Everything currently available for sale is listed in my shop, and I plan to be listing lots of new pieces between now and the holidays.

Unfortunately, because of all of the chaos surrounding various aspects of making our cross-country move, I will not be taking new custom orders until 2015, with the possible exception of a range of semi-customizable holiday baubles.

Where will we be able to find your work when you move to the Seattle area? And for those of us who live nearby, will we be able to connect with you?

I am sincerely hoping to have a solid real-world presence for Baubles & Blessings once we settle! I’m already looking into licensing so that I’ll be able to sell on the street in downtown Tacoma during the dry season, and checking out potential opportunities for displaying some of my wares at local shops. I’m most likely going to have some pieces included in a friend’s art show in Seattle in the spring. My first scheduled event will be at the Gritty City Gift Fair in Tacoma on Small Business Saturday, November 29th. Keep an eye on my blog and/or Facebook for updates! As soon as we recover from traveling, I’m planning on renting a PO box so that I’ll have an address I don’t mind being public knowledge, which means that I’ll finally be able to set up a real email newsletter — the weekly email will be another great way for people to stay caught up on what I’m doing and where I’ll be!

What is your favorite item to make?

For multiple reasons, I really love making necklaces. They take long enough to put together that I have enough time to really get lost in the piece, which I adore. I also feel that there is something very special about the stones and talismans that are chosen to hang close to someone’s heart. I have also recently started really digging working on circlets — they afford me the same luxury of having time to get lost in the work, which creates some very powerful pieces, and also sit in a precious position where they have the opportunity to help make a lot of magic and beauty happen.

Where do you find your unique beads?

After having a lot of people basically ask me how to copy my work, which never feels good, I have decided to decline to answer this question. I’ve put a lot of time and energy into finding the supplies and vendors that work for me, and if you put the effort in, I am certain that you’ll find the results that work for you as well!

How can someone get started with tending Brighid’s Flame?

I have answered a version of this question here. 🙂 We would also absolutely love to start our own flamekeeping group, but it will be a while before we are settled enough to have the time and energy to make ourselves accountable to that many other human beings in such a profound way on a consistent basis, and we want to make sure that we do it right if we’re going to do it at all.

Have you ever felt drawn to make a piece and then just KNOW it was meant for yourself rather than to sell?

I am occasionally drawn to pieces that I’ve made which have exceptionally lovely or powerful energy. I’d say that these pieces probably end up calling to me and remaining in my possession about 25% of the time. When I’m unsure whether the piece is meant to stay with me, I will sometimes set a deadline and end up keeping it if it hasn’t called strongly enough to anyone else to be purchased by that deadline. Other times, I know instantly that I just can’t bear — and am not meant — to list a piece for sale.

How do we order if we have a credit card but no PayPal account?

You actually do not need a PayPal account in order to complete checkout via PayPal in my shop! Just follow the checkout steps without logging in, and please feel free to comment on this post, shoot me an email or send a PM on Facebook if you get stuck or have any other questions.

When speaking of yourself, you refer to a “queer woman”. I was told and have always believed that the word “queer” was more of a slur and it should not be used when describing someone. Why do you refer to yourself in this way, rather than using “LGBT” or a similar term?

This is definitely a bit of a tricky topic, because it depends a lot on who you ask and how you mean it when you say it. For me, as a queer woman in my mid-30’s, it’s not an overly politicized word choice. I grew up in and around Boston in the 90’s, and reclaimed terms formerly used exclusively by oppressors as slurs — like “fag”, “queer” and “dyke” — were being used by many folks who were tired of being afraid, coming out of closets and creating firm boundaries. This was our home, these were now our words, and we were not going to allow hatemongers to use them to intimidate and hurt us. It certainly didn’t start with my generation, though — the true radicals and pioneers came in the Stonewall era.

Back to your question, to me, the word “queer” is a little different than the other terms mentioned. Most of them are considered by many members of the GLBTQ community to be words that are okay for those within the community to use, but off-limits for people who are not part of the community. Racial slurs are actually a great parallel; when it comes to reclaimed words that were formerly solely used by oppressors, some people in various ethnic communities feel that it is okay to use those words within their community, that it removes the word’s power. Other members of those communities find the terms terribly offensive, regardless of whose mouths they’re coming out of. The opinions of people who are not part of the communities in question are generally irrelevant. (Just to be clear, I would like to point out that I am drawing a parallel to word usage that some people may find a bit easier to understand. I am not, by any means, trying to say that I can speak for people of color or understand the oppression that they face, with my perspective being that of a white woman.) Many controversial terms referring to folks in the GLBTQ community work the same way, and many people choose to self-identify as queer these days.

I feel like the term “queer” is a good fit for me personally because I am a woman primarily attracted to female-bodied people, but I am not exclusively attracted to people who identify as female. My spouse, who I’ve been with for 8 years, is a transman. For me, calling myself a lesbian would be awkward and kind of disrespectful to my amazing hubby. I’m definitely not straight, and calling myself bisexual doesn’t feel right either. To me, “queer” indicates that I am part of this community that is — to be idealistic for a moment — accepting of what falls outside of long-held societal “norms” and embraces diversity. I get that “LGBT” and similar terms feel more accurate and inclusive for other people, but “queer” is just what feels right to me. And even though I’m getting older, my hair is graying and I’ve been too sick to be much of an activist for most of the time that I’ve known my hubby, embracing my flower child hippie side more and more, the radical activism and punk rock that I came into adulthood surrounded by will always hold a piece of my heart in a chokehold. So I think I’ll always have a bit of a tendency to lovingly embrace those strong, controversial words that get people talking and connecting like we are here, with this question — as long as I have a right to claim them. 🙂

What is the weirdest request you ever got for a custom piece?

I’ve actually answered this question in a previous Q&A post; click here to read my answer.

If you could go anywhere in the world and learn a new craft, where would you go and what would you learn?

My first thought on seeing this question was Ireland, without hesitation or doubt. After a moment’s reflection, I think that I would like to find one of Brighid’s people from whom I could learn a wee bit about metalsmithing. I would love to be able to make my own precious metal and copper pendants and beads, and perhaps completely forged items as well!

Why did you choose the Seattle area instead of Oregon or California?

The progressive parts of California are so expensive that they ruled themselves out of our search pretty quickly. We vacillated between Oregon and Washington for a short while, eventually choosing Seattle because a good friend is located in the area… We finally settled on Tacoma because the LGBT and artsy communities in Tacoma seem a little more down to earth and potentially friendlier to newcomers than their counterparts in Seattle, and the cost of living is also more reasonable.